Note: I’m writing this in Saskatoon in a hotel, and since Acadia repossessed my faculty laptop (ah, what the hell, might as well throw shade on every possible university in this edition) I have to write on the computer in the lobby and it has Windows 8: Hellscape and also shuts off every 45 minutes and I am literally screaming with frustration at not being able to open tabs, right click, save images or basically do anything I need to do to write this column. So excuse the irritation bleeding into every word. Also, disco muzak has been playing for the last four hours.

Seriously, Tim, I can’t add images!  Can you just find some random cats and intersperse them through the text?


1. Don’t read the comments.  Don’t read the comments.

Are you sitting down? I don’t want to shock you, but Halifax might be racist!

Hey, let’s ask Chief Kopit!

According to Chief Kopit, “Yup! Given that the British started a race war and Cornwallis declared it illegal to be Mi’kmaq, I’d say it’s racist here!”

Well, hey, that’s just one opinion though. Could just be an oversenstive whiner.

Hmmm, let’s ask Thomas Peters.

What say you, Mr. Peters? “It’s so racist here that I petitioned the British government to send Black Loyalists back to Sierra Leone! We came here to work, we’re not freeloaders. People should have been nice to us.”

People aren’t always nice to white people though, you know. Probably just the race card.

What about you, Rabbi Abraham Levitt?

“Well, yeah, I was found guilty of animal cruelty for the practice of kosher slaughter, so I’m going to go with pretty bigoted, ok?”

Really, though, shouldn’t we be asking random white people who comment on the CBC site whether Halifax is racist? After all, lots of them have lived here for years and never observed any racism, so probably they’re experts in whether or not racism exists and not people of colour.

A spokesperson from Dalhousie encouraged students who have experienced racism to make a Facebook page naming white perpetrators, posting their pictures, and discussing some of their negative feelings about white people that can result as a consequence of suffering racism. HAHA just kidding. You know if students of colour did that everyone would be kicked out for threatening and terroristic behaviour. Actually, the university encouraged students experiencing racism in Halifax to use their on-campus supports, such as the library full of racist grafitti or the culture of misogyny, homophobia and racism. No, kidding again. Students were advised to speak to faculty of colour who share these experiences and are compensated for doing this kind of time-consuming emotional work with tenured positions, research relief, and other recognitions of the important role they play in mentoring students of colour and the extra labour that takes away from their teaching and research time. Guess what? I’m still kidding. Just go to the international student centre, ok? And keep paying those double fees.

Phew! It’s a good thing students never experience racism on campus isn’t it!


2. Y is for “Your fees are going up!” O is for “Oh crap, you’re going to broke.”

Thanks a lot Macleans!

Saint Mary’s University students will see their tuition go up by $194 to $540 annually over the next three years, the school’s board of governors announced Friday.”

University officials said,”Basically we see students as a cash cow and we’re going to suck on that teat until it’s dry. And hey, the government gave us permission to raise fees, so we’re going to exploit away! Capitalism, bitches! ‘Saint Mary’s is a top-five undergraduate university in Canada, and our tuition adjustment reflects market expectations for a post-secondary education,’ a university news release said Friday.”


Dramatic re-enactment:

Hey students!  Guess what? You go to a top five institution!

YAY! That’s good! Call us Robie Street High, what!

So we’re going to raise fees because like this one year guidance counsellors ranked us highly!

BOO! I wanna be 7th like Dalhousie!

(It just seems like kind of a cruel reward is what I’m saying. Maybe they felt like they want more students from a “wealthier” background or something.)


Gee, good thing “opportunistic cash gouging affordability” isn’t one of the categories.

Also a good thing that I’m permanently employed and everything and academic institutions love and accept criticism. (/sarcasm off)


3. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Because it’s not like people have to go to work on Fridays, the Macdonald Bridge was unexpectedly closed.

“Not even paramedics” were able to cross the bridge.

Wow, thank God our bus terminals at least are equipped with defibrillators in case there’s an emergency…oh.  Oh no.


4. But he’s such an accomplished and useful man!

Get ready for another royal visit to Nova Scotia!

Oh, I’m ready!

YouTube video


Protocase, a Sydney manufacturing company, wants more women to apply for jobs.

Have they tried pink uniforms? The ladies really like pink.

Also, maybe they could ask for “decent, good looking girls” in the job ad! Ladies love being complimented on their looks at work.

OH NO! MEN TOTALLY CANNOT GET JOBS THESE DAYS. Will the injustice never end? First we’ll have this company having the temerity to suggest that more women in the workplace and in manufacturing jobs is a good thing, and next MEN WILL BE FORCED TO HAVE BABIES VIA IMPLANTED WOMBS INVENTED BY EVIL CHICK SCIENTISTS WHO ONLY GOT INTO STEM FIELDS BECAUSE OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO DATE RAPE PEOPLE. How is this kind of sexism, like having a workforce reflective of the population, allowed? Like, I bet if there were industries, like say professional football teams, that only allowed men, everyone would protest and the men would totally be exiled from society! But a company can just openly talk about discrimination against men and the PC police acts like it’s okay!

Just saving you the trouble of reading the comments.


6. Macleans should rank this

Really, are we some kind of capital for public creepers? Surely we have an unusual amount of these stories.

New motto: Halifax. Be bold, public masturbators!

Just kidding again, obviously our motto should be “reducing the amount of garbage that ends up at the landfill.”

Hey, now that our recycling ranking improved, clearly the city should increase the price of garbage bags according to market expectations to really reward us all for living in a highly ranked city!


7. But you can gaze upon the majesty of the shipyards!

Halifax regional council is planning a $5 million overhaul of Fort Needham Park, the site of the Halifax explosion.

City resident Stephen Outhit points out that “the problem with the plan is that the views to the harbour from the park have been obstructed by recent construction at the Halifax Shipyard.”

“The memorial monument was placed specifically in its location to view the explosion site,” Outhit said. “That site was blocked when Halifax Shipyard built its main building. The municipality made no effort to adjust the location of this building and as a result have nullified the purpose and location of the existing monument and national historic site.”

The city acknowledges the problem, but you see, the plans will “reveal a new relationship of the park to the explosion site in the harbour with a curved path that follows the radius from the point of the explosion blast.”

Is that like when you’re in a relationship and you’re comfortable together, and then one day your partner decides they want to see other people, so now you have a new relationship, and your partner is like, “hey, why don’t we try bringing a shipyard into this relationship to spice things up, you know, like that would be totally hot, plus the shipyard has abs of steel” and you’re not really feeling it but you’re trying to keep the relationship going, and plus, who would get the dog?


Editor’s note to writer: Ahem.


1. #barbaricculturalpractices

Since the reason my Examiner sucks without cats today is that I’m in Saskatoon for poetry, I provide you with a preview:

Hello, barbaric cultural practices tip line.
You’d like to report your neighbours.
Okay, so are they from Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia?
Oh, they’re Caucasian.
So your complaint is they drive around in trucks painted with confederate flags
And bumper stickers claiming redneck pride.
Oh no, I’m so sorry, you seem to be misguided
That’s probably just a tribute to the Dukes of Hazzard.
It’s not like the Klan.They’re probably just Duck Dynasty fans.
They’re just rebels.
But you say the Southern Poverty Law Center tracks white supremacist activity at record levels?
Dylann Roof wore the symbol on his jacket before he went to a church to shoot?
Okay but a few examples of white people, that’s not proof.
White men committing violence? How could anyone prevent it?
But when a Muslim commits a crime why don’t the moderate Muslims condemn it?
What about those white youths who planned a Valentine’s Day massacre at the mall?
Oh no, there’s no danger there at all.
They’re just murderous misfits.
Don’t read anything into the Nazi salutes and swastikas on their outfits.
Nothing to worry about they’re not terrorists.
Everyone, relax.
We’re not worried about people threatening Blacks.
Or even Jews.
White men with guns it’s just not news
We’re talking about things that aren’t compatible with Canadian values
Like, say Muslim women covering their face
There’s just no place for that in Canada these days
It’s a medieval backwards practice that has to stop.
We’re so concerned about misogyny in Canada, that’s why we voted to drop the status of women offices.
You wanna know what about that guy in Moncton who shot three cops?
Oh no, he’s a lone wolf. His mind is just distorted.
But if Jamaicans shoot at a BBQ well they should be deported.
No, no your white male neighbour stockpiling guns don’t bother to report it
He’s probably a hunter. He probably votes conservative.
We’re talking more about people who are kind of like “alternative.”
No, not murderers of Indigenous women or white male pornography rings.
More like people wearing turbans or people with dark skins.
You know, “new stock” Canadians, people like Nenshi
The sort of people we want to deny entry
People who don’t look like Wayne Gretzsky
But aren’t white men the most at risk for a mass shooting given the statistics?
No no, when white men do these things it’s just random mental illness
Not like that homeless man who shot the soldier on Parliament Hill
He recently converted so you know that Islam made him kill
Never mind that he had a history of psychiatric struggles and he was off his pills
Look I think you’re mistaking the purpose this tip line fills…
Okay, no no, now this one sounds promising.
You overheard the man down the street yelling
That if his wife leaves him he’ll murder her and the children?
Oh he’s not Muslim, you’re pretty sure he’s Christian.
That’s domestic abuse, not honour killing.
Teen plural marriage in Bountiful BC?
Well, you must just be a bigot who doesn’t want Christians to be free
Virginity pledges and modesty dress codes for young teens
That’s just protecting girls from pregnancy and STDs
Not like those Muslims with their patriarchy.
What about your pro life neighbour who threatens to bomb abortion providers?
No we mean like outsiders.
Like confused teens on Twitter talking about being Isis fighters.
Not whites. You know, people who like to worship on Fridays.
Okay so this is more like it.
You want to report female genital mutilation.
No, absolutely that has no place in this nation.
You say the local plastic surgery clinic performs vaginoplastys?
Can you get it through your head we’re only concerned with those nasty Muslims and Africans?
We mean those brown people who are probably Talibans
So don’t be coming to me with reports about hockey fans rioting after the Stanley Cup
Or St. Patrick’s Day partiers downtown throwing up
We’re not concerned with frats.
Campus rape culture we’re not about that.
Cops shooting black kids? That’s not that bad!
We mean like imposing Sharia law and waging jihad
Not Halloween costumes with black face or sombreros
Not grown men screaming at the world junior hockey championships, not rodeos
The Calgary Stampede? Now that’s just definitive.
But Muslim women in niqab? That’s so primitive.
It’s just not progressive. Muslim men are so aggressive.
Not like hockey fights and beating up immigrants, no that’s not oppressive
Boys will be boys we have to preserve it
After all they grow up to run for the Conservatives.
Don’t you want to live in the Canada that you deserve?
And no we’re not talking about running water on reserves
A history of genocide? Don’t say a word
I mean a Canada free of violent beliefs that those people observe
Just those scarves on their heads don’t they get on your nerves?
That’s why the barbaric cultural practices tip line is here to serve.
All those un-Canadian elements civil society needs to purge.
Oh don’t be concerned about turning in your neighbours.
If anyone objects, they’re just reverse racists.

El Jones is a poet, journalist, professor, community advocate, and activist. Her work focuses on social justice issues such as feminism, prison abolition, anti-racism, and decolonization.

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  1. Clear bags should have a positive effect on recycling programs; but the overall impact of their implementation requires a longer monitoring term which involves analysis of more than just what shows up on the tipping room floor…. consumption patterns must also be monitored and analyzed as well as population numbers and the amount of waste materials being shipped outside of HRM’s boundaries now that flow controls have been removed which enables garbage haulers to deliver their loads to non-HRM waste management facilities if they find it to their benefit to do so.

    Flow control ended in Feb 2015 but was active during the 2014 summer months analyzed by HRM Staff, we know that some garbage is being shipped out of HRM but no mention of how that may have affected the HRM Staff analysis. And could looking at two months worth of data ever be considered an indication of a trend?

    1. Oops, the link was supposed to go to the Undergrad list, don’t know what happened. I literally had to go check out that top 5 thing too when I read that. I just knew it had to be Maclean’s fault.

  2. ‘Saint Mary’s is a top-five undergraduate university in Canada, and our tuition adjustment reflects market expectations for a post-secondary education,’


    Someone gets paid “market rates” to spew such bullshit.

    Perhaps all students should think about moving to Denmark then we’ll see what the market expectations are.

  3. Ditto BD’s comment – would love to hear #barbaricculturalpractices out loud. I can’t do it justice reading it to myself. Great work.

  4. El, if a video of you reciting #barbaricculturalpractices gets uploaded to YouTube, can you post the link? I can ‘hear’ your tone and inflection as I read but I know it’s only a pale imitation of how you present in person.

    Also, I want to share this with friends; your words are powerful and the way in which you present packs an even bigger impact.